FANCYING UP THE FIRST NIGHT: No one but no one will claim there isn't a giant, where's-my-swimsuit, where's-the-sunscreen, where-are-we-going-again? push come the day before a major road trip. You've been daydreaming and planning and anticipating for months. Then, come the night before the morning you leave, you're up to your ears in mismatched socks and phone messages from the cat sitter and the 190 different things that must be done. This could be why, in large part, the first night out on the road is sometimes the most forgotten. You want to get to your destination, and where you bed down for the initial push is one of the final thoughts you think, prior to pulling out the suitcase. In a wise and summer-smart move, The Citizen Hotel in Sacramento has stepped forward to be a part of a road tripper's adventure, but on that fabled first night, when the travelers heading in from the Bay Area or the southern part of the state into Tahoe or Redding or Shasta need a great bed. A new package called The Citizen Layover caters to just this on-the-road adventurer on that very first night -- or, yes, the last night, too, before you return home.
THE CITIZEN LAYOVER: If you're desiring a little grown-up R&R once you leave the highway on that first day, you'll find it via two Relax Cocktails delivered to your room (think germain-robin brandy, cocoa, cream, saffron, and that ultimate agent of nighttime sipping, chamomile). Dinner for two at The Grange Restaurant & Bar means you don't have to go searching for your supper after several hours of asphalt under your wheels, and a basket of car snacks for the next day will include eats from local Sactown artisans. And will there be maps for walking or running the Capitol-close area and nearby river? There shall be, yes (every road tripper knows that physical movement on a car-bound trip is key). The rates for The Citizen Layover begin at $209 at the Joie de Vivre hotel (up to a 30% savings, yep). But will you pine for your basket of local goodies and Relax Cocktails once you're back on the road to wherever your ultimate end point might be? It is a rare thing when the trip's first night starts to rival the time when the vacation hits its stride.